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Amazon introduces eerie-sounding 'palm scanner payment technology' to SF Whole Foods stores

A few SF Whole Foods stores are coming up with bizarre biometric payment methods that let you pay with just a wave of your hand. But is it worth handing over your biometric data to Amazon just to avoid the very simple task of pulling out a credit card?

Retail giant Amazon has already crossed so many privacy rubicons that it’s no longer a surprise when they introduce a new nightmare technology. These Ring video doorbells have already fallen prey to police real-time surveillance. Their Alexa voice assistant faithfully records every conversation in people’s homes. And it’s common knowledge that Amazon hands over this personal data to law enforcement or to the highest bidder (or in the case of hackers, who can get it without bidding on your data).

Amazon’s next frontier is personal health data. TechCrunch reports that Amazon-owned Whole Foods is deploying palm-scanning technology to Bay Area Whole Foods stores and connecting bank accounts. You can pay with just a wave of your hand.

According to TechCrunch, “Amazon’s ‘One’ palm scanner payment technology will be deployed at more than 65 Whole Foods stores in California.” , San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Cruz stores, it is the largest deployment to date to embrace technology aimed at modernizing retail shopping. “

I don’t know if what they are really trying to modernize here is “retail shopping” but I will continue.

Image: Amazon

According to Amazon itself, “Amazon One makes everyday activities easier with the palm of your hand, such as paying in stores, showing your loyalty card, entering venues like stadiums, and badgering your workplace.” It’s a fast, convenient, contactless way to do so.The service is designed to be highly secure, using custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a unique palm signature for an individual. To do.”

SFGate investigated exactly which Whole Foods stores in the Bay Area are doing this. “After making a call, SFGATE confirmed that at least seven of 13 Whole Foods stores in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley are nearing the rollout of Amazon One, likely around the end of August.” and the site reports. “Four of her respondents at Whole Foods were told they hadn’t heard anything about Amazon One or would not participate in the expansion program at this time. Two declined to comment.”

SFGate also tactfully describes the contactless payment system as a “very marginal improvement in customer service.” i think they are right about that. But Amazon’s plans for biometric data aren’t tiny.

Sure, if you don’t like this shit, you have the option of not shopping at Whole Foods. But normalizing this is a concern.and we I’ve acknowledged Is there an option not to opt-in to Amazon’s biometric profile program? If Amazon wants that biometric data, are there any safeguards for those of us who don’t want to give it to Amazon? No, but it doesn’t shock me to learn that I’ve already filed this theological “unique palm signature” on Amazon.

There’s an old joke that calls Whole Foods the “Whole Paycheck.” But with Amazon’s commitment to biometrics, they may want more than your salary.

Related: Amazon acquires SF-based One Medical for $3.9 billion [SFist]

Image: 20th Century Fox